Stress and the Workplace
People say that stress is the silent killer. This saying may be true, but stress may not be as silent as many assume. If you as an employer stop and listen closely to your employees’ body language, facial expressions, and interactions with others in the workplace, you may just be able to hear the “silent killer” screaming its head off.
Finding great employees in the fields of ID theft protection, risk management, and financial crimes can be difficult enough; you certainly don’t want them walking away because of too much stress. How can you keep that from happening? Everybody knows that these fields demand a lot.
First, acknowledge the stress. The American Institute of Stress (AIS) states that work is a major source of stress in the majority of adults’ lives. If companies refuse to acknowledge that work can be a source of stress, they will never do anything to address the problem, and excellent employees will continue to leave when they can no longer cope.
Second, recognize the main areas of work related stress. AIS breaks down how most employees see the stress at work. 46% of the stress comes from the workload itself; 28% comes from dealing with other people in the workplace; 20% comes from juggling work and personal lives; and 6% comes from job security.
Third, locate the specific sources of stress. The American Psychological Association (APA) recommends having employees track their specific stressors. The problems may be everything from feeling like they have no control or authority, yet they are expected to make high-powered decisions, to low salaries. Maybe, with the advent of the digital era, the problem lies in feeling like they must be available 24/7. The problem could simply be that the work is just not challenging enough. Whatever the stress, it needs to be identified so that employees and employers can begin to deal with the issues.
Fourth, formulate a plan of action. If employees are overwhelmed with feeling that they are always on-call, set up protocols for when emails and phone messages should be retrieved and answered and be certain that clients are well informed. Locate the employees who want and need the challenges and grow them. Be sure to keep the pay equal to the work because if you want quality work, you have to pay for it. And be sure to set reasonable expectations that are clearly communicated.
Keeping the stress levels at manageable levels means keeping your employees. The Society for Human Resource Management states, “Research suggests that direct replacement costs can reach as high as 50-60 percent of an employee’s annual salary, with total costs associated with turnover ranging from 90 percent to 200 percent of annual salaries.” Keeping employees means reducing turnover costs, and reducing turnover costs means staying profitable: the purpose of all businesses. If dealt with correctly, employers will be able to not only remain profitable but also silence the “silent killer.”
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“Coping with Stress at Work.” American Psychological Association. n. d. The American Psychological Association. 29 Aug. 2016. www.apa.org/helpcenter/work-stress.aspx.
“Workplace Stress.” The American Institute of Stress. n.d. The American Institute of Stress. 29 Aug. 2016. www.stress.org/workplace-stress/.
Allen, David G. “Retaining Talen.” SHRM Foundation Research. n.d. SHRM Foundation. 29 Aug. 2016. www.shrm.org/about/foundation/research/documents/retaining%20talent-%20final.pdf